Tuesday, January 03, 2012

This and that

I used my wedding china for Christmas this year.

Another loaf of bread is slowly rising.  The wind chill was 5 when I got up this morning, a brief journey into true winter!  Brrrr...  With the high cost of food, having good bread available to fill the tummy is, as Martha would say... "A good thing".

To answer a couple bread questions, my bread machine is a Regal made in the 1990s and still working quite nicely.  I didn't use it much at first but then I saw an episode of one of Julia Child's shows (back when it was a first run on PBS) where she had various bakers as guests.

That episode had a guest who even changed Julia's mind about bread machines (she also had one and didn't use it) when she showed what could be done by letting the machine do all the work using the dough cycle and then taking it out... shaping it... and baking it in the oven.  I only had to try it once to change my mind, too.  I have baked bread in the machine a few times since then but about 99% of the time, I use the dough cycle.

As for other bread recipes, I have used others which called for bread being made by hand or in the Kitchen Aid mixer but now that there are just two of us, it makes more sense to make one fresh loaf at a time.  I even converted Stephanie's favorite pizza dough recipe to the bread machine.

I thank those of you who made my Christmas much more delightful than I anticipated.  It was so good hearing from you... good friends.

I never expected December to be so busy!  Christopher stayed here more than at his apartment last month in the midst of projects, finals, and then over Christmas.  It seemed I had more errands than expected, too.  We thoroughly enjoyed the decorations and left the tree up until yesterday.

I enjoyed reading favorite Christmas books and watching good movies and PBS music specials.  My favorite DVD this year was An Avonlea Christmas, which I had on a few times when puttering around the house.  I love the houses and costumes and it has a good storyline, even if I thought it an odd choice the first time I saw it last year.  It grew on me this year.

The past few weeks, I've been certain to keep Sunday night open to watch Downton Abbey when it has been replaying.  I missed most of it last time and with so many people whose opinions I trust saying it was very good, I had to watch it.

It indeed drew me in and I loved it (except for the one "alternative lifestyle kissing scene) in the first episode but Stephanie had warned me about it and told me it forms a background about one of the characters.  Everything after that was only implied about him.  I can't wait until this weekend when Season 2 begins in the United States!

It took a few days to pack everything away so I used the time when Christmas items were packed but I hadn't returned the usual decorations to their homes to change things around.  The hutch hadn't been changed very much since we moved in!  I will be showing pictures, of course.

Today is the very first day in a long time that I haven't had a full "to do" list.  There are still some areas of the house which need a little work but it is looking like I will get to write e-mails and letters soon.  I don't know about you but it seems as if someone wound 2011 too tight and it went into double time!  January and February are usually slow months at our house and I'm looking forward to them.

Manuela is blogging again, at least once she finishes getting the bugs out of her HTML.  I am so glad to "see" her again.  She sent me two salad plates in a favorite brown transferware pattern (among a few other vintage goodies).  That partially sparked the transformation of my hutch shelves... but that is another story for later.  Manuela's lovely Internet home is... here.

Sherry at Semicolon is always a must read for me but she's been focusing on book lists recently... which I LOVE.  She is... here.  If you miss me a couple days, I'll be over there clicking on links. Her last Saturday Review of Books is all about blogger's list of favorites from last year and previous posts contained a number of "Best of" lists throughout the Net.

Should you forget, both sites have buttons on my sidebar... under the Amazon widget and along with Lanier's Books and Holy Experience.  Good company... :)


Just so you can keep up with Miss Victoria.  She loved the stack of Rubbermaid Christmas containers so much, we kept them in the family room a few extra days.  Our only "company" was to be Miss M. and she wouldn't mind... Victoria has her twisted around her little paw shall we say.  Miss M. even brought her a Christmas gift.  I must say that the feeling is mutual.

I leave you with pictures of Her Highness and her temporary Queendom.


Terra said...

What an adorable cat taking her nap. I will visit the blogger you mention who is doing some lists. I adore lists of books. My hubby and I greatly enjoy Downton Abbey too.
Have a blessed 2012 with some down time amidst all the busyness.

Vee said...

I ran into Manuela's blog a few days ago and was so surprised that I think I read without saying anything...unforgivable. I will definitely visit again.

Thank you for the background story on the bread machine. I found it helpful and interesting. Without an oven just now, I will be baking bread in the machine for a little taste of homey goodness, but will go back to the dough cycle for the future, if I should ever get a stove.

matty said...

What a good idea! Using the machine for kneading. Although I love that part of the process, it is a good idea to "multi-task" although that rather takes the pleasure from "slow food!"

Don't you just love Manuela's blog? I leave her and you so inspired!

I am optimistic about 2012. I have all the month's bills paid, thank you notes written, and Christmas essentially put away. This is scary.... just saying...

Have a great week! Did you get snow, btw? I heard that some of your neighbors around the state got more than a foot! Stay warm!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet looking cat! Our cat has us wrapped around her paw too.
Thank you for the link to the blog with the book lists. Must check it out.

Melissa said...

Your wedding china looks just like mine...is it "Savannah, by Noritake"? I was able to buy a couple extra pieces, since it is now discontinued, from an on-line replacement company. I love using it because of the many different colors in the flowers, but I mainly use it with silver accents.

Anonymous said...

We need to get back to using the bread machine. We do do The New York times no knead bread a lot but not much else. That bread is fabulous!! I am probably the last person to know but I didn't know season two of Downton Abbey was starting next week. I Loved the first one! And the houses and costumes too!! :) I so want to see the second season too!! Thank you!!! :) Sarah

Mrs.Rabe said...

So good to hear what you've been up too! :)

I love your photos of Miss Victoria - she is a Queen for certain!

I am happy to 'see' Manuela again too.

I haven't made bread in forever...we were doing it with my Kitchen Aide...but we have been busy lately. Soon I hope to be back to these things!

It's cold here too, and tomorrow we need to go to NYC where it will be very cold...brrr.


Elizabeth said...

Love it! Happy New Year! I am looking forward to more blogging this year!